Davao bans poultry products from areas hit by bird flu

Transporting chicken in rural Mindanao. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 May) – The city government has prohibited the entry of poultry products from Luzon and other areas with reported cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu to protect the local industry.

Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, head of the City Veterinary Office, said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday that the city remains bird flu-free and that local authorities are doing all they can the infection from spreading in commercial and backyard poultry farms.

Mayor Sara Duterte’s Executive Order 19 dated May 13 but only released on Thursday implements a temporary ban on the entry of all live domestic and captured wild birds, and their products and by-products, including day-old chicks, eggs, semen, manure, and fathers, from mainland and island provinces of Luzon, and other areas with reported cases of bird flu.

Pinili clarified that the temporary ban does not include entry of poultry products from unrestricted regions, or areas with no cases of bird flu, provided that they comply with a list of stringent requirements under the executive order.

To allow entry of poultry from other regions with no cases of bird flu, Section 2 requires, among others, veterinary health certificate issued by a veterinarian and concurred by LGU/DA-RFO veterinarian, negative laboratory test result for bird flu, New Castle Disease-Free Certification, shipping permit, livestock handler’s license, and registration of transport from the Bureau of Animal Industry.

She said day-old chicks are allowed to enter the city, provided they comply with the documentary requirements.

Local authorities implemented stricter measures on poultry products after an outbreak was reported in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur.

Pinili said grazing ducks in Magsaysay, a neighboring town of Davao City, tested positive for the infection.

She said the infection mostly affected ducks and native chickens in areas of Mindanao with reported transmission of bird flu, mostly among backyard raisers.

She said no large-scale commercial poultry farms have reported bird flu cases in Mindanao.

She said that the city has 15 quarantine checkpoints to monitor the transportation of poultry.

“Bird flu is a zoonotic disease so it can infect humans who come in close contact with infected birds,” she said.

She said humans infected with bird flu manifest mild respiratory symptoms.

The order empowers the city veterinary inspectors to intercept the entry and confiscate live domestic and wild birds, their products and by-products, from restricted regions during the conduct of inspection at quarantine checkpoints, seaport, airport, and other points of entry; and to ship the confiscated items back to origin by the owner/shipper at his expense or to subject them to destruction and disposal.

It directs the Office of the City Veterinarian to conduct monitoring and surveillance on poultry in the city; coordination with the local poultry farmers through District Animal Technicians as to health status of poultry in the city; conduct information dissemination, education, and communication campaign to barangays, poultry raisers, and other stakeholders concerning avian influenza; and conduct immediate depopulation of poultry together with other line agencies in case there is a confirmed case the disease in the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)